Remote Interviews & Onboarding: How to digitally get the measure of candidates

March 22, 2023

Conducting an interview over video isn’t exactly a novelty. In fact, the first interview with most companies will almost certainly take place digitally. It’s a convenient and simple way for both parties to get a measure of one another, of the position at hand and whether this placement would be a good fit.

But these interviews are always followed by another that would occur the traditional way, in person at the office. The face-to-face interview differs from the digital interview in that it puts both the recruiter and the interviewee at ease.

On one hand, the candidate gets the chance to assess the company on an internal level by observing how the team interacts with one another, how operations are carried out and whether the atmosphere is to their liking.

On the other hand, the recruiter gets the chance to better assess the candidate, understand their priorities, and most importantly, observe how they present themselves in person, how they communicate away from the digital world.

These days, office interviews are simply not feasible.

From the potential threat of COVID-19 carrying candidates to the complete transition towards remote work, digital interviews are more or less the only option. This might be disarming, as it robs both parties from a very important pre-placement experience. But as a recruiter, analyzing the video call with your candidate can help you accurately assess their behavior.

Getting the measure of a candidate

In order to get the most out of virtual interviews, it’s imperative to examine the elements that are easier to identify in person. This goes for body language, delivery of the response, how the candidate behaves when asked certain questions, and so on.

But beyond assessing the candidate’s comfort levels, recruiters should be prepared to push the limits during the video interview. Going in with the standard set of questions - ones that are so familiar they’re practically textbook - gives the candidate an advantage, a means to prepare or stall long enough to present an adequate answer.

A candidate is best evaluated outside of their comfort zone. Of course, time at the office throughout their first few months reveals their true nature, but in the case of remote interviews, it’s best to design your questions around elements you’re most curious about.

Defining the comfort zone

A candidate’s comfort zone is limited only by the knowledge and capabilities that they haven’t mastered yet. Generally speaking, asking candidates basic questions about standard tasks for their role leads to the same answers. The goal here is to test their creativity, problem-solving skills, ability to adapt and so on.

Your interview questions should be tailored to push the candidate towards those tense work scenarios where they could potentially shine. For example, asking a candidate about their experience and ability to work remotely can give a good idea of how they manage their time, how they classify and prioritize tasks, and even whether they can adapt to an unexpected situation. Our experts at JB Hired, recommend preparing model scenarios that contain a test of adaptability and role-specific problem-solving. An in-depth test during the interview allows you to better understand how the candidate receives instructions and how they react to them.

Clarity & objectives

We’re currently living through an unusual global situation. Now we’ve always been advocates of adaptability in such times, and we always recommend companies and recruiters to seek those professionals that you could rely on, especially in a COVID-19 world. But as it is a very unusual setting, it’s imperative that recruiters and HR professionals remain transparent in their communications with candidates.

This clarity would set the pace and the professional relationship that your remote employee would have with the company, the work, and the management team. Being able to communicate clear and concise objectives allows you to set the standards for the work you expect.

This is also a very effective way to measure your candidate’s ability to handle responsibilities at various levels. Not only that, but it’s also one way for them to display just how much they can achieve.

Onboarding & company culture

Most of us who have been working remotely since the outbreak can name many different reasons we miss the office. Some of the most prominent ones would relate to the coworkers, the interactions, the team spirit (in one word, the culture), etc. This is especially difficult to include remote candidates in. Company culture comes across best when experienced firsthand, and it goes a long way in shaping your new hires into a solid pillar of your operations.

However, companies have been creative in digitizing their company culture. Now, this can be an assortment of little actions, traditions, and inter-team activities that allow employees to interact within a company setting, but with non-work related focus.

Team building has always been important. It’s responsible for drive, innovation, motivation, and employee satisfaction. Some companies organize conference calls for lunch, celebrations, games, and brainteasers, etc.

While this keeps your team feeling like a team, it’s also a very fun way to introduce a new hire to the company culture. This can even ease their onboarding given the remote nature of their role.

A well-defined recruitment strategy

Being prepared for the remote work model is a more important step now than ever before. It stands to reason that your assessment of potential employees beyond the interview stage would ensure that they can adapt, be flexible and deliver quality results despite the circumstances.

Though no one could expect a global pandemic, our team at JB Hired recommends defining the stages of the recruitment process in order to prepare your company for the worst. That’s why we advise our clients to adapt, re-prioritize the prerequisites for successful hiring, and keep employee satisfaction in mind.

The world has changed in a matter of a few months. And though the professional landscape might never be the same, skills that were once overlooked or disregarded are becoming vital to successful recruitment. Job offers and benefits are changing. In order to maintain successful recruitment and retention of promising talent, hiring companies need to change alongside them.